Fragrant Valentine

by Liz Dowling

My husband gave me two bottles of perfume for Valentines Day this year.  I’m not sure what I did to deserve this…. but it was a foolproof gift.

I discovered fragrance early.  Around age 10, I think.  My Aunt gave me a bottle of White Shoulders which I promptly (accidentally) broke on the bathroom floor.  I watched the pale pink liquid seep into the grout, pool around the bottom of our cloth shower curtain and soak into the bath mat.  Every time I went into the bathroom after that I had White Shoulders to thank for masking little brother dirty laundry odor and creating a haven that smelled like tuberose, gardenia and lilacs.

White Shoulders

White Shoulders

In high school, my mother gave me JOY by Jean Patou.  It was so glam.  The elegant bottle.  The words Paris and Parfum on the label. The deep amber color.  I used it sparingly so it would last a long time.  When it was gone, I starting wearing what was popular at the time  ~ CalyxJessica McClintock, Sung by Alfred Sung, Obsession, Coco and Ysatis.  But JOY got me hooked.

  Image 4   Image 3

My passion for fragrance ultimately led to a job at Elizabeth Arden in New York in their Parfums International division.  The first three brands I worked on were Chloe, Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion and… White Shoulders.  I was part of the team that launched Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds.  Got to hang out with “Liz” and husband #7 Larry Fortensky. Dream job.

Image 2

I migrated to LA after New York and got a job at Fred Hayman Beverly Hills.  Fred launched Giorgio in the 1980s and, after he sold it to Avon, started a new fragrance venture.  The offices were gorgeous, above Giorgio Armani on Rodeo Drive.  Movie stars were always coming and going, eating lunch with Fred on his patio that faced the Hollywood sign.  I worked on the Fred Hayman 273 brand, the address of his famous clothing store on the corner of Rodeo that sprayed fragrance as you entered the door.  Fred was a character.  He was frequently spotted cruising around LA  in his bright yellow Mercedes convertible with his German Shepard Chumley in the passenger seat, top down, both of them wearing his signature yellow FH sunglasses.

Fred Hayman 273 line

Fred Hayman 273 line

My Valentine fragrances, Fendi L’Acquarossa and Hermes Eau Claire des Merveilles, both sit prominently on top of my bureau.  The bottles are exquisite.  The Fendi a deep red with gold and the Hermes playfully tilts to its side.  Thank you, honey.


the wry home

You may also like


Deanie March 9, 2014 - 10:09 am

Love the Hermes!

Elizabeth Dowling March 9, 2014 - 10:19 am

Me too! How are those two gorgeous girls of yours? Miss you ~ Liz

Comments are closed.